Commanding Officer - HMNZS WELLINGTON
Lieutenant Commander Phillip Rowe, RNZN
Lieutenant Commander Phillip Rowe joined the Royal Navy in February 1986 as a Seaman Survey Recorder and under went training at HMS Raleigh and HMS Drake before being posted to the Ocean Survey Ship HMS Hecate. During his time onboard he was promoted to Able Seaman and undertook deployments to the Atlantic undertaking survey operations from Brazil to West Africa.
During his early career he served in the survey vessels HMS Bulldog, HMS Roebuck and the Inshore Survey Motor Launch, HMSML Gleaner. These vessels saw him take the role of Navigators Yeoman and in HMSML Gleaner, with such a small crew he also undertook the duties of the Navigator – as an Able Seaman. It was during his time onboard HMSML Gleaner that he was awarded the Herbert Lott Award by Captain Hydrographic Flotilla for outstanding contribution to the running of a fleet unit.
Successfully completing his Leading Seaman Survey course in 1993 he was promoted to Leading Hand in 1994 and posted to HMS Bulldog. This posting saw a departure from the normal survey operations around the UK and he was involved in deployments to the Persian Gulf to survey the Straits of Hormuz Traffic Separation Scheme all under the watchful eye of the Iranians.
In 1997 he was posted to the Ice Patrol Ship HMS Endurance and spent two seasons in Antarctica and the surrounding islands. It was during this time and with a boat and small team he worked on two detached surveys in South Georgia and South Falklands whilst the ship undertook surveys around the Antarctic Peninsula.
Selected for Officer training in 1999 he was promoted from Leading Seaman to Sub Lieutenant in May 2000. After successfully completing initial Officer training and Junior Warfare training he was posted to the frigate HMS Cumberland and spent six months in the Persian Gulf in support of coalition oil embargo on Iraq. It was during this period he was awarded the Long Service Good Conduct Medal and the Air Operations Iraq Medal.
On return to the UK he then undertook the Hydrographic and Meteorology course in Plymouth and was awarded a Cat B certification in surveying and a Post Grad Cert in Applied Meteorology.
Posted to HMS Scott, the largest of the RN’s survey vessels, in 2002 he took up the position of Gravity Officer. This role, the only one in the Royal Navy, saw him undertake gravitational surveys around the Mediterranean, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf and North Atlantic.
Following the successful completion of the Fleet Navigator’s course in early 2004 he was posted to HMS Echo as the Operations Officer (2). This role saw him as Navigating Officer and Operations Officer on a crew rotation basis. Further deployments to the Persian Gulf saw him undertake survey operations around the northerly oil terminals in the Persian Gulf, just outside Iraqi and Iranian territorial waters. It was during this period he was awarded the Operational Telic medal.
In November 2005 he retired from the Royal Navy and in January 2006 joined the Royal New Zealand Navy. After a few months settling in he was posted to HMNZS Resolution as the Navigating Officer. After undertaking operations around the coast of New Zealand he departed in June 2007 only to return to HMNZS Resolution in September 2007 as the Executive Officer and with it the acting rank of Lieutenant Commander. In July 2008, he assumed command of HMNZS Manawanui. During this period, he was involved in WWII ordnance removal in Noumea and was part of the RNZN effort when the Tongan ferry, the Princess Ashika, sank with the loss of 74 lives. It was during this time he was promoted to substantive Lieutenant Commander.
Posted to the Fleet Personnel & Training Organisation in March 2010 as the Operations Personnel Officer, he was responsible for the career management of the Operations Branch Warrant Officers and overseeing the training and posting cycle of all personnel within the branch.
In March 2011 he was posted, at short notice, to HMNZS Endeavour as the Executive Officer.
January 2012 saw him posted to the Maritime Operational Evaluation Team as the Fleet Seamanship and Executive Officer.
On 24 January 2013 he assumed command of the Offshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS WELLINGTON.
Phillip is married to Karen and has four children, Michael (27), who lives in the UK, Lewis (21), Callum (19) and Mollie-Grace (15). The family reside on the North Shore.